Been a long time since we last met. Days, or weeks, or years, or decades or a bundle of lifetimes or just time woven in threads I have lost hold of. But perhaps, I haven’t lost hold of what I remember of you, the last of you. Perhaps I have missed all the periods of your growth since then. Perhaps I know not what breath-taking and soul-wrenching moments you have had since. And perhaps, this is sorrowful. But, let’s leave this discussion for another time.
Tell me for now, how have you been. I remember your suave figure wrapped in elegant drapes of what they called silk, how you watched through your glasses when she poured your tea, making sure the sugar cubes to be put were exactly half the spoon. Does she place your teaspoon exactly an inch from the cup plate even today? Is your silk still folded correctly in repeats of three and stacked well at the uppermost right corner of your cupboard each week? Have you reduced your sugar intake? What did the doctor’s last prescription say? How many times a month do you now renew that silver sheaf of tablets?
I remember vividly the fine lines across the bridge of your nose, how they augmented your smile and contained sometimes a tear or two. The eyelashes would curl like daffodils each time you looked up at the skies. The wrinkles at the squeeze of your eyes each time you laughed would trace the contours of crescent moons. Perhaps you have put on more weight in this time, I am not sure, perhaps you have lost some. Are there more lines on your forehead? Do you still count them and match them to the number of stars each night? How many more times have you wished on those fallen lashes? Did those wishes come true?
What do the dogs down your lane say? How’s the husky, your dearest? Do you still wrap tortillas and meat each day for him? Is he old enough to not swing his tail in excitement each time he has your glimpse or to not bark at the little ones on the head from the bus to their homes?
Tell me for now, how is your very own album of memories on your lap which constituted a collection of all your loved ones, and things you gathered from your old lovers and the photographs of people you love from when they were children? Did you not drop another cup of evening tea on its second last page while seeping for a nap again on the rocking chair by the window? Did you add more photographs to it? Have a few faded? How many?
The last of you was serene and composed and calm as cold waters under a sheaf of ice and warm and mellow as the subtle blaze from the hearth. I remember distinctly your saintly voice which uttered nothing but prayers in each posture human anatomy has discovered. Your palms which found my temples each time could put fairies to slumber with all the tenderness they held. Are the creases of those palms worn out now? Do they tremble distinctly each time you try to caress children’s faces? Does the child guide your fingers to their forehead for the pat? Or do they too instead, kiss them in reverence to your love?
The last of you was lovable and I am sure the present of you is too and I know all your versions are.
I remember your braids and the delicate swirl at the end of it. I remember your loud laughs that stirred up all gatherings. I remember your smile which worked magic on morning cranky faces. I remember your words of wisdom and love. I remember your eyes which sparkled and glistened each time we met and shared life. I remember your voice which cast spells. I remember your scent of fresh jasmines dripping through a trail from everywhere you left. I remember the tenderness in your touch and the roughness of those worn-out fingers and their tight creases which grazed very often all things close to your heart.
But I fear to forget your smiles and eyes and gestures and idiosyncrasies.
I fear misplacing your memories and laughter and voice which smelt fresh lilies.
I fear forgetting your favorite phrases
and pet peeves
and the arch of your eyebrows
and your fragrance
and the curl of your lashes
and the tear on your cheek
and all your touches which felt home
and the swirl at the end of your braid,
I fear forgetting
The Last of you.